Normanton Knights hosted Stanley Rangers U14s in the 1st round of the BARLA Cup.
Knights started the contest 2 tiers higher than Stanley but it was Stanley that started the brightest, having three sets on the Normanton line, led by impressive forwards Ben Bradbury and Owen Hopkinson. Stanley battered the Knights line which hung on gamely but a Stanley mistake and a Knights break-away led to the 1st score under the sticks - 6-0 Knights. Stanley then got a foothold in the game led by Hooker Alfie Wilkinson. A good move down the right from Earnshaw, Hudson, Roberts and Liam Auty and then a powerful run inside from Joseph Hudson, set up a gap for Ben Bradbury to storm through for the 1st Rangers try converted by Rowley - making the score 6-6. Stanley kept applying pressure and a good kick was collected by impressive Lewis Pemberton whose electric pace and a dynamic right foot step sent him in for a try under the posts again converted by Rowley. At half time the score was Stanley 12-6 ahead of Normanton Knights.
Stanley again started the half the best and sub prop Lewis Kelly battered the Knights line with great metres from winger Joel Cunliffe and Danny Earnshaw running the show, but again a mistake let the Knights in to level the game 12-12. The last 10 minutes were all Stanley battering the line and they were awarded a penalty under the posts to make it 14-12. The Knights to their credit didn't give up and a few penalties later the Knights broke down the left edge and scored a try in the corner. The kick missed and the score was then 16-14 to the Knights. Two minutes were left on the clock and Rangers needed the ball back. Some solid defence and a knock-on was forced and Stanley tried everything in the 3 tackles remaining. A kick into the in-goal area and pressure on Normanton meant the the ball was knocked out and with no time on the clock to take the restart Normanton won this thrilling tie 16-14.
Stanley's stand out players where Joe Hampshire, Lewis Pemberton but new halfback Danny Earnshaw picked up the Man of the Match award. Stanley coaches Paul Dean and John Harnetty praised their players for their efforts and believed the best team on the day lost.
(NB. The BARlA cup teams play in the year above their current team age group)
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